The Farm by Joanne Ramos
Written by Filipina-America writer Joanne Ramos, The Farm focuses on women in the exclusive enclave of Golden Oaks, New York, pampered with healthy meals, all their fitness desires and every existing treatment to satiate their curiosity. In exchange for all of this, the women stay at the farm for nine months, as surrogates for wealthy clients. This fresh take on an Atwood-esque dystopian nightmare stayed in my mind for months after reading it.
Self Care by Leigh Stein
Is self-care truly for everyone? In an industry mostly dominated with white women for white women and their capitalist needs, Self Care satirizes the wellness world in a way that feels very current, amidst the near-implosion of brands like The Wing, Away and Outdoor Voices. I will admit that the “millennial pink” cover drew me in, and that probably means I’m part of the type of the people mocked in this book, but at least I’m self-aware enough to admit it.
Miracle Creek by Angie Kim
Nestled in a small town in Virginia is a hyperbaric chamber ostensibly treating a myriad of issues from autism to infertility. One night, the chamber explodes with people inside, killing two and leaving the others in various degrees of injury. Where does the fault lay? A mother whose child was being treated inside? The owners, betting on a potential insurance payout? Activists unhappy with the treatment’s existence? The ensuing court case attempts to answer all these questions and more. An immigration story, a criticism on miracle cures, the pressures of motherhood and a very accurate look at the legal system (author Angie Kim is a former lawyer) are threads woven together in 365 pages, and make Miracle Creek an unforgettable read.
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Otessa Moshfegh
The unnamed protagonist of My Year of Rest and Relaxation seemingly has the perfect life: young, good-looking, lives in the UES, works at an art gallery and lives a free-wheeling life supported by her inheritance. Inside her is a bitter, unexplainable hole of alienation: in her life, her relationships and her dead parents. To shock herself into feeling, she decides on a journey of yearlong sleep and attempts to self-medicate with the help of a truly terrible psychiatrist (found in the yellow pages). The end goal is to be reborn, but at what cost? Darkly humorous and coldly warm, her madcap adventure to a state of being reborn anew is an unforgettable read.